Beautiful, beautiful article by Louis Ruprecht at Religion Dispatches on the death of Fr. Matthew Kelty, long-time fellow monk and mentor of Thomas Merton at Gethsemani Abbey.

Lou retells some of Merton’s story here, in a fresh and human way, but also some of the story of this lesser-known light of Gethsemani. I’ve heard from monastics across the years how great a teacher on the deepest meaning of celibacy this gay man was.

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As someone who grew up in the Church (preachers' kid) and is gay, I wonder what affect the wording & sentiment of Catholic Church doctrine on homosexuality had on him. It took me a long time to come to grips with terms like "intrinsically disordered," "sexually broken," and "not in God's plan" being leveled at me. I would have liked to talk with him.

Here's what says: "The Catechism describes homosexual acts as 'intrinsically disordered': 'They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.'"

I've read many of Merton's works... He is an enlightenin author.

Thank you for posting this. I find it moving and interesting -- I'm always curious about this subject and how gay Catholics wrestle with the contradictory.

Bravo for another wonderful post. How can I share this with friends by email? I am not on facebook or any of the other sites listed in your share.

I got as far as:

"This remarkable monk spent fifty off-and-on years at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, where he was the last confessor that Thomas Merton ever had; and if that wasn’t enough to warrant further discussion, he was also a gay priest who came out in one of his most eloquent essays at the ripe old age of ninety. We will not soon see the likes of such monks again."

Good grief, what on earth is so remarkable or admirable about a man living in open disobedience to the faith he claims to believe and follow? Scripture is clear on its teachings against homosexuality, especially in Romans 1. It is an abomination before God.

A side note is the issue of the requirement of celibacy for Catholic priests. This is NOWHERE taught in Scripture. In fact, quite the opposite is taught in 1 Timothy 4

As Christians we are supposed to believe and obey the Bible. When we leave that aside and start making up our own rules, problems arise.

Hi Mo. I would guess your background is more authoritarian than R.Catholicism. The word there has evolved with modern human psychology that indeed perhaps some people are attracted in a physical way more to some members of their own gender than the opposite. This is now defined as "gay." Acting on that, in a sexual way, is still considered "sinful" in Catholic ideology/morality. Admitting one's proclivities of affection, then, especially in an oldster, can give the young and alarmed at their conflicted affections a sense of ease. The sense of alarm that people feel at these absolute taboos in life may be a signpost to some for an easier life. But for others it creates resentment that God made them "bad" inside, or determination to go against their environs or against their own life. A simple, chaste monk speaking his heart and yet living within his vows can bring enormous relief to a troubled people. I believe God is praised in this.